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Stan Wawrinka said he has buried the hatchet with Nick Kyrgios and backed the controversial Australian to rise up the rankings and win “big tournaments.”
Kyrgios was banned for three weeks and slapped with a big fine in October for his antics during a defeat to Mischa Zverev at the Shanghai Masters.
The world number 13 has gained a reputation as a pantomime villain, with one of his lowest moments coming when he made an inappropriate comment to Wawrinka about his girlfriend Donna Vekic during a match at the Montreal Masters last year.
Wawrinka described Kyrgios’ sledge as “unacceptable” and said he would not have come out with such a remark to his worst enemy, but the US Open champion stated that he has put that incident behind him.
Asked if there are any hard feelings between the two, the three-time grand slam champion said: “Not that I know of.”
Kyrgios is set to return to ATP Tour action next month after serving his ban and world number four Wawrinka expects the 21-year-old to show what he is capable of before long.
“He is a strong player, we all know how difficult he can be,” said the Swiss. “It’s tough to speak for everybody. For me, I see him as a strong and tough player.
“All I can say is that when he is playing well, when he wants, he is really dangerous.”
He added: “I am sure he will win big tournaments, He deserves to be 13th in the world. I am sure he will be even higher and will be there for many, many years.
“I am sure if he did a good off-season he is going to be tough to beat at the Australian Open, Because I am sure he wants to do well [in Melbourne] – he wants to win. It will be interesting to see.”
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